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Thread: The little VTR250 that could.

  1. #1
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    Default The little VTR250 that could.

    By request, I'm doing a review on a 2009 Honda VTR250 (naked). Full spec list below.

    Over the new years holiday from January 1st to January 4th, I booked the above motorcycle and rode it for four days solid, logging a little over 800 km (ride report). I've been interested in riding this bike for a while, ever since I saw one of my neighbors relying on it for daily transportation. I really like the looks because it's essentially a mini-me version of a Ducati Monster, engine and all. Even better, it sounds healthy too. In any case, when I saw it available for rent in Naha, I jumped at the chance especially considering the small fortune required for renting a liter class bike.

    As to the overall ride quality, this was somewhat dampened as a result of older tires with harder rubber. While the ride was nothing if not confidence inspiring, I'm sure I would have had even more fun in the twisties with at least fresh rubber. The other thing that I was disappointed about was that the suspension was not adjustable, when my giant self sat astride this poor little thing, I could bounce the rear monolink off the bottom of the shock travel (I weigh about 80 kg/180 pounds), which meant I was riding in far from ideal suspension travel. On the up side, the brakes were more than adequate for the 160 kg bike with two piston single disk on the front, and a single piston single disk on the back. Also, the incredibly light weight and geometry meant that I had no trouble taking it wherever I wanted to go, including some pretty heavy duty off road tracks I'd never dream of doing on my CB. There wasn't really a road I encountered I didn't feel comfortable on. Everything from mud, to grass and heavily potholed gravel. But where this bike really shined (despite the tires and suspension) was the twisties. This thing loved to lean. I could ride for tens of kilometers at 80 kph without even breaking a sweat. Absolutely effortless, and I could have gone much harder if I had more confidence in the tires and suspension.

    For the engine, I was really pretty surprised at the amount of torque (22 Nm at 8500 RPM) available on this fuel injected 4 valve per cylinder engine. In fact, it wasn't until well into my second day of riding that I discovered the joys of pushing the thing much closer to the redline to make use of the 30 HP at 10500 RPM. The thing loved to rev, but it didn't bog down when puttering around 3000 RPM either. Ample acceleration to get around cars in passing zones and avoid dangerous situations in traffic. On the other hand, I wasn't too impressed with the clutch and transmission. The clutch felt like wood, making it difficult to find the friction point, and the gearbox was pretty clunky to shift. Even so, I don't remember actually missing a shift, and I had no trouble finding neutral when I needed it.

    The biggest thing though was thinking about running costs. Of course, I started with a full tank, but over the four days I had it, I only filled the tank twice. That's 800 km on two tanks of gas (returned it full) with a tank capacity of only 12 liters. Just for giggles, I calculated my fuel efficiency over the course of my second tank. I went 348.2 km (incredible range considering that's about 100km further than I usually get on my CB with a 22 liter tank) and put 10.28 liters in the tank. That comes to about 34 km/L of real riding fuel efficiency. So with more range and about twice the fuel efficiency, this bike was looking really good. Doubly so considering you don't have to do shaken for a 250.

    The biggest drawback, and the reason I'd never buy this bike, was the physical size. It was tiny, with a seat height of 76 cm and after an hour in the saddle (which was comfortable enough for one person), my knees were killing me. I really dwarfed the bike and must have looked like a freak rolling up on other motorcyclists. Also, the bike is billed as a two seater, but I can't imagine the pillion being big enough to carry anyone else or being comfortable while doing so. Also, the suspension would be even more worrisome with a passenger.

    Highly recommend this bike for someone of shorter stature than myself. I'm 183 cm (6') and I was far too cramped. Even so, this would be a perfect city bike for anyone of any height with it's great fuel efficiency and narrow frame allowing it to fit through traffic effortlessly, as long as you didn't have to spend more than 30 minutes at a stretch on it.



    Model nameVTR
    Make・Model numberHonda・JBK-MC33
    Overall length×width×height(m)2.080×0.725×1.055
    Wheelbase(m)1.405
    Ground clearance(m)0.155
    Seat height(m)0.760
    Weight(kg)161
    Number of riders2
    Fuel efficiency(km/L)40.0(60km/h fixed speed, level course)
    Turning radius(m)2.7
    Engine model・typeMC15E・Liquid cooled 4 stroke DOHC 4 valve V2
    Displacement(cm3)249
    Bore×stroke(mm)60.0×44.1
    Compression ratio11.0
    Power output(kW[PS]/rpm)22[30]/10,500
    Torque(N・m[kg・m]/rpm)22[2.2]/8,500
    Fuel supplyElectronic fuel injection (PGM-FI)
    Starter typeSelf
    IgnitionFull transistor regulated battery
    LubricationWet sump and splash
    Fuel capacity(L)12
    ClutchWet multi-plate coil spring
    Transmission5 speed sequential
    Gear ratio1st: 2.733
    2nd: 1.800
    3rd: 1.375
    4th: 1.111
    5th: 0.965
    Reduction ratio
    (primary/secondary)
    2.821/2.928
    Caster angle/Trail(mm)25°30´/96
    Tire sizeFront: 110/70-17M/C 54H
    Rear: 140/70-17M/C 66H
    BrakesFront: hydraulic disk
    Rear: hydraulic disk
    SuspensionFront: telescopic
    Rear: monoshock
    Frame typeDiamond truss
    Last edited by dmizer; 06-02-15 at 08:44 PM.

  2. #2
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    Nice write up! Completely agree with all your points.

    Having own that bike for almost two years, my first bike in Japan. The only reason I don't have it anymore is because it was stolen but, otherwise, would have kept it next to my Fireblade.

    I really loved it. I am shorter than you so, wasn't really much an issue for me. Even if my Japanese friends ridding with me having fun seeing a big gajin with tiny bike

    I rode a lot with a passenger with her and yes, not so comfortable if the passenger is not used to motorcycle and long ride. Myself having 3 days trip with that bike, with a friend and sharing the bike, with all the camping gears on the backpack. And yes, it worked! So, wasn't an issue for us used to ride to endure that back seat but, for giving an objective idea of how uncomfortable it is, a friend said me after I took him on my Fireblade that the Fireblade is far more comfortable for the passenger than the VTR250!

    I remember enjoying touge with that bike because of its torque and its lightness.





    Finally, I chose that bike because, didn't wanted to bother with shaken stuff and, was a big at this time of Ducati Mostro. This was the perfect choice and did not regret it.

  3. #3
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    Damn, maybe time to ditch the scooter for a new commuter.

    Great review dmizer! And thanks for the feedback alban.
    ----------------
    2008 R1200GS | 2009 NSF100 | 2009 CRF250X | 2011 Address V125S


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by alban View Post
    I really loved it. I am shorter than you so, wasn't really much an issue for me. Even if my Japanese friends ridding with me having fun seeing a big gajin with tiny bike
    If I was shorter, it would be my next bike. I loved it.

    Quote Originally Posted by alban View Post
    I rode a lot with a passenger with her and yes, not so comfortable if the passenger is not used to motorcycle and long ride. Myself having 3 days trip with that bike, with a friend and sharing the bike, with all the camping gears on the backpack. And yes, it worked! So, wasn't an issue for us used to ride to endure that back seat but, for giving an objective idea of how uncomfortable it is, a friend said me after I took him on my Fireblade that the Fireblade is far more comfortable for the passenger than the VTR250!
    Yeah, I can't really see it being very useful as a two-up machine. For carting your girl to and from work, sure, but camping like you said you did ... wow.

    Thanks for sharing the pics. Nice bike. Shame it got stolen.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rider2371 View Post
    Damn, maybe time to ditch the scooter for a new commuter.
    That thing would be a blast to commute on. It's incredibly narrow too.

  6. #6

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    I'm so glad I chose it to be my bike in Japan. Really looking forward to a nice 2nd hand one. I only have a budget of under 220,000 yen including all the insurances, found some with 180,000 yen and least without insurance, hopefully they are still there when I got my license!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lancehoangle View Post
    I'm so glad I chose it to be my bike in Japan. Really looking forward to a nice 2nd hand one. I only have a budget of under 220,000 yen including all the insurances, found some with 180,000 yen and least without insurance, hopefully they are still there when I got my license!
    You might want to also consider a 250 dual purpose bike, it'll take you everywhere a VTR will just as quickly, and also allow you to explore off the beaten path.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twinrider View Post
    You might want to also consider a 250 dual purpose bike, it'll take you everywhere a VTR will just as quickly, and also allow you to explore off the beaten path.
    A VTR will do pretty well for exploring off the beaten path, it'll look significantly better doing so, and it's a twin.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmizer View Post
    A VTR will do pretty well for exploring off the beaten path, it'll look significantly better doing so, and it's a twin.
    Doesn't look like it will do to well on dirt, gravel and single track but maybe with the right rider onboard....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twinrider View Post
    Doesn't look like it will do to well on dirt, gravel and single track but maybe with the right rider onboard....
    Single track, yeah, no way. However, I have essentially zero off road experience but this wasn't too difficult. http://youtu.be/jKyilkLde_s

    It was more gnarly in person than it looks on the video with some pretty steep sections I was a bit worried about, and some seriously huge pot holes. I actually rode gravel quite a bit on it while I was in Okinawa. Of course, all with pure street tires.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmizer View Post
    Single track, yeah, no way. However, I have essentially zero off road experience but this wasn't too difficult. http://youtu.be/jKyilkLde_s

    It was more gnarly in person than it looks on the video with some pretty steep sections I was a bit worried about, and some seriously huge pot holes. I actually rode gravel quite a bit on it while I was in Okinawa. Of course, all with pure street tires.
    I had a WR650 that was also fun on roads like that. I wonder if anyone has converted a VTR to dirt bike spec.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twinrider View Post
    I wonder if anyone has converted a VTR to dirt bike spec.
    Dunno, but my neighbor was running Dunlop K180s which would be moderately acceptable off road.

  13. #13

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    Great bikes the VTR, only usurped buy the older Spada's.
    The Spada's had 6 speed gearboxes and about 10 more hp.
    Both are bikes i could live with, push comes to shove.
    Apexmoto Inc - Dyno tuning, engine/chassis/suspension upgrades, repairs, shaken, tires & changing with balancing, graphics printing, stickers, media blasting, painting & powder coating.

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